Friday, December 23, 2016

A Christmas Favorite - Eggnog

Eggnog /ˈɛɡˌnɒɡ/ (or egg nog), historically also known (when alcoholic) as milk punch or egg milk
Eggnog with cinnamon
punch, is a rich, chilled, sweetened, creamy dairy-based beverage traditionally made with milk, cream, sugar, whipped eggs (which gives it a frothy texture, and its name) and, in some contexts, distilled spirits such as brandy, rum or bourbon.

Eggnog is traditionally consumed throughout Canada and the United States at Christmas every year, often from American Thanksgiving through the end of the Christmas season. A variety called Ponche Crema has been made and consumed in Venezuela and Trinidad since the 1900s, also in the Christmas season. During this period commercially prepared eggnog is sold in grocery stores in these countries. Eggnog is also often homemade. Distilled spirits are sometimes added to both commercially prepared eggnog and homemade eggnog. Eggnog or eggnog flavoring may also be used in other drinks, such as coffee (e.g. an "eggnog latte" espresso drink) and tea, or to dessert foods such as egg-custard puddings or eggnog-flavored ice cream.

Traditional eggnog is made of milk or cream, sugar, raw eggs, an alcoholic spirit, and spices, often
Traditional eggnog typically consists of milk, sugar and raw eggs.
vanilla or nutmeg. In some recipes, vanilla flavor is added. Some modern commercial eggnogs add gelatin and other thickeners, with less egg and cream. There are variations in ingredients, and toppings may be added, such as grated nutmeg or ground cinnamon. Eggnog can be made commercially, as well as at home. Ready-made eggnog versions are seasonally available with different spirits, or without alcohol, to be drunk as bought or used as "mixes" with all the ingredients except the liquor, to be added as desired. Traditional eggnog has a significant fat content, due to the use of cream, and a high sugar content; low-fat and sugar-free formulations are available using skimmed or low fat milk.

Dutch advocaat with around 20% alcohol, long sold in bottles, is essentially an eggnog. Under current U.S. law, commercial products sold as eggnog are permitted to contain milk, sugar, modified milk ingredients, glucose-fructose, water, carrageenan, guar gum, natural and artificial flavorings, spices, monoglycerides, and coloring. Ingredients vary significantly between variants. Alcohol used in different national and regional versions of eggnog include brandy, cognac, bourbon, whiskey, sherry, rum and grain alcohol.

Some North American manufacturers offer soy-, almond-, rice- or coconut milk-based alternatives for vegans and those with dairy allergies, lactose intolerance or other dietary restrictions.

The history of non-dairy eggnogs goes back to at least 1899 when Almeda Lambert, in her Guide for
"Silk Nog," a commercial soy milk eggnog.
Nut Cookery, gave a recipe for "Egg Nog" made using coconut cream, eggs, and sugar. In 1973, Eunice Farmilant, in The Natural Foods Sweet-Tooth Cookbook, gave a more modern non-dairy eggnog recipe using 3 eggs separated, 2 tablespoons of barley malt extract or Amasake syrup, 4 cups of chilled soy milk, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, and nutmeg, (p. 138-39)

In 1981, Grain Country of Los Angeles, California, introduced Grain Nog, the earliest non-dairy and vegan eggnog. Based on amazake (a traditional Japanese fermented rice beverage) and containing no eggs, it was available in plain, strawberry, and carob flavors. Also in 1981, Redwood Valley Soyfoods Unlimited (California) introduced "Soynog", the earliest known soy-based non-dairy and vegan eggnog based on soy milk and tofu (added for thickness). It was renamed Lite Nog in 1982 and Tofu Nog in 1985.

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